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Jul 25, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(July 21, 2019) This perpetually challenging text features two sisters-- one who is doing all the work, and one who is just sitting there! You'll never guess which one Jesus praises. But why exactly does he critique Martha, when she is doing the work and service to which she has been called? ( Isaiah 58:1-9 ;  Luke 10:38-42 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, challenge, question
Community Audio
Jul 25, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(July 14, 2019) Jesus tells us, “Love your neighbor as yourself”—but what if you don’t love yourself? How do we begin with compassion for ourselves, and love ourselves as we love our neighbors? (As we read   Luke 10:25-37 , I invited people to imagine themselves in the role of the person in need of compassion)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, challenge, question
Community Audio
Jul 25, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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  (July, 2019) What does it mean that “Jesus sets us free?” From what are we set free? What if we don't feel that we are free from the sorrow or pain or despair? ( Galatians 5:1, 13-25 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, challenge, question
Community Audio
Jul 25, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(June 30, 2019) What happens when God asks the impossible? In this ever-challenging text, God asks Abraham to be prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Our reaction to this is so visceral, so horrified, that this alone should tell us something about God and about ourselves. ( Genesis 22:1-14 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, challenge, question
Community Audio
Jul 25, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(June 23, 2019) The people demand—and God grants—a king, even though God knows this is not what is best for them. Why do we always seem to want things that are not good for us? Why does God let us do them? ( 1 Samuel 8 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, challenge, question
Community Audio
Jul 25, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
audio
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(June 16, 2019) Does the End Justify the Means? Why does God call and lift up people who break the rules, act in unholy ways, and otherwise set lousy examples? (Genesis   25:24-28 ;   27:1-26 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, challenge, questions
Community Audio
Feb 18, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(February 17, 2019) As I prepare to travel to the Called Session of The United Methodist Church, I am not alone in feeling worry about the future of our denomination. But if God cares for the birds and the flowers, perhaps God gives us something inherently human, which will provide for us so that we don't need to worry. ( Jeremiah 17:5-10 ,   Matthew 6:25-34 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, general conference, GC2019, called...
Community Audio
Feb 18, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(February 10, 2019) Maybe we are not suppose to "retreat" as in withdraw from the world; maybe we are supposed to advance into a greater sense of God-with-us. ( 1 Kings 19:1-15 ,   Mark 1:29-39 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, retreat, silence, calm, spirit
Community Audio
Feb 18, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 27, 2019) Has the church lost its unique moral voice? Can we, in response to God's call, find a new moral voice for this time and place? ( John 1:35-46 ,  Mark 1:14-20)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc
Community Audio
Feb 18, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 13, 2019) God draws near to us in the life of Jesus, and in the remembrance of that life in communion. Then, God calls us in baptism. How will we respond? ( Isaiah 43:1-7 ,   Mark 1:4-11 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, baptism, call
Community Audio
Feb 18, 2019 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 6, 2019) As we reflect on the story of the Magi, or Wise Ones, we recognize that it is easier to run toward something than run away. How is God calling us toward something this year? ( Matthew 2:1-12 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, communion, epiphany, new year
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 2, 2018 Rev. Rebecca Cirrell
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(December 2, 2018) After reading the powerful words of the prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 2:1-4 ;   Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 ), our message this morning came in the form of a story, read by three veterans from our congregation: (in order) Sarah J., Wayne A., and Bob P. We had hoped to have the story read/also read by Jack R., a WWII veteran, but he was not able to read aloud, and so we share this story in part in his honor. The text comes from "The WWI Christmas Truce," by Christopher Kline. 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, christmas, truce, wwi, peace, advent
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Aug 10, 2018 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(August 5, 2018) We long for easier, simpler times, and our faith is no exception. Children have a natural wonder and simplicity about faith, about the stories of the Bible, and the worldview of right and wrong. How do we let go of our "grown up" sensibilities and rediscover the faith of a child? ( Hosea 11:1-4, 8b-11 ; Matthew 18:1-7 ). 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, child, childlike
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 25, 2018 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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  (May 13, 2018) God calls all things holy-- and is present to us in all kinds of ways that are also all holy. Sometimes, we find God in surprising places, a reminder that everything, yes even a bullfrog, is holy. ( Luke 24:44-53 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, frog, call, humility, holy
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 9, 2018 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 4, 2018) The church of today is not necessarily the church of which Jesus dreamed-- or we might dream. How can we become a church the lives out Jesus' call to feed the hungry, visit the lonely and sick and imprisoned, and work together for God's vision of the world? ( Matthew 25: 31-40 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, justice, compassion, calling
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 9, 2018 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(February 18, 2018) When we baptize a person, regardless of age, we proclaim God's love of them and our support and love for them, almost always before we know anything about them. Nothing can separate us from the truth that we are all beloved children of God. ( Mark 1:9-15 ; Romans 8: 31-39 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, justice, grace
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 21, 2017 Rev. Rebecca Girrell
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(September 17, 2017) One of the defining characteristics of the People of God is the compassion and care we show one another, and that this compassion is rooted and grounded in God's love for us. In this message, we also celebrate the deep compassion our community shared with one another during and after a horrible tragedy in our region. ( Leviticus 19:9-14, 18, 33-34 ;  Philippians 2:1-10 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 26, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(May 21, 2017) Sometimes, too much change, even good change, like leaving behind oppression in Egypt, or like God conquering death in Jesus Christ, can throw us off balance. It can be hard to let go of the past, no matter what that past is like. Gently, we offer to God those things that we need to let go, like the empty shell of a chrysalis, so that we are ready to journey on. ( Exodus 16:1-3, 9-12 ;   John 21:1-14 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, butterfly, free, release, past, hope,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 26, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(May 14, 2017) An emerging butterfly-- or human child-- is strengthened by the process of breaking free. Much as we might wish we could save our children from hardship, and much as God might wish to save us, God's children, from hardship, the struggle is part of what strengthens us so that we will one day be able to soar. Unlike moths and butterflies, we do not struggle alone. Like Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, we are surrounded by a community that struggles with us, and that aids us in the...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, lazarus, community, freedom,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 26, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(May 7, 2017) A brief reflection on a day when we celebrated camping Sunday still offers time to ask-- when and where and how to we begin to awaken to God's new thing? Are you falling asleep just as the story gets interesting, or are you beginning to awaken? ( John 10:1-10 ;  Matthew 28:8-20 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, butterflies, faith
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 26, 2017 Rev Rebecca GIrrell
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(April 30, 2017) What does it mean to open to God's transformation in our lives-- not to be open (a state of being), but to open (a verb)? As the disciples struggle to imagine what the death and resurrection of Jesus could mean, Jesus himself comes to journey with hem, opening scripture, opening their eyes, and opening their hearts. Do you see the little crack through which the light gets in? ( Genesis 17:1-7, 15-27 ;  Luke 24:13-35 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, butterfly, open, transformation
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 24, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(April 23, 2017) The more we learn about butterflies (and moths) and the process of metamorphosis, the better it preaches about the transformations of the Christian life. Tombs, cocoons (or chrysalises), wombs, and locked rooms may seem like safe places, but instead are the places where Jesus finds us. Like the caterpillar, we are broken down to be re-formed in God's hands. Are we really ready for this complete transformation? ( Luke 1:26-38 ;  John 20:19-31 ) A new favorite of many in the...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, easter, transformation, faith, change
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 20, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 5, 2017) On the 25th anniversary of the fire that destroyed the first structure of Lebanon United Methodist Church, we confess that we are uncertain about where God will lead us next. Who are we, now that we are no longer "the church that burned"? ( Matthew 4:1-11 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, fire, rebirth, dark wood
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 20, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 12, 2017) At his moment of greatest emptiness, his own death on the cross, Jesus is completely empty. And there, in that emptiness, God is most powerfully present. ( John 3:1-17 ;  Mark 15:21-39 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 20, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 19, 2017) We seem to think that God no longer speaks to us, since we don't experience burning bushes or the voices of thunder and flashes of lightning. But is it possible that it's not that God has stopped speaking to humanity, but that we have forgotten how to listen? When was the last time you were thunderstruck? ( Exodus 3:1-12 ;  Job 37:1-5 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 20, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 26, 2017) Sometimes, only when we are lost can we allow ourselves to be found. In the silence and stillness, God is able to speak to and through even fallible people like us. ( 1 Samuel 3:1-11 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 20, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(April 2, 2017) We think of temptation as a bad thing, but what if it is a gift-- one that points us to our path? What if our temptations give us the chance to confirm our calling and commitment? ( Matthew 4:1-11 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, temptation, dark wood
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 20, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(April 9, 2017 - Palm Sunday) Caught between the poles of fear and shame, we sometimes let one or the other construct an image of ourselves, when in fact, each pulls us away from who God calls us to be. Jesus, having journeyed in the Dark Wood, knows the gift of sliding past those expectations, turning sideways to them, and disappearing, to emerge as who he has always been: God's beloved Child. ( Philippians 2:5-11 ;  Mark 11:1-11 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, palm sunday, dark wood
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 20, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(April 16, 2017 - Easter) You'd never suspect that a cocoon would hold a butterfly, and yo would certainly never suspect that a tomb might hold a risen Savior. Yet, God is full of surprises, and the Easter season beckons us to break free from all that confines us, spread our wings, and fly! What transformed beauty might we see-- might we be-- when we emerge? ( John 20:1-18 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, easter, emerge, butterfly,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 27, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 22, 2017) Sometimes we take ourselves far too seriously! Although we never want to use humor to hurt or demean anyone, laughter can often heal and uplift. Even the Biblical matriarch, Sarah, demonstrates several kinds of laughter: from disbelief and laughter at the impossible or painful, to the laughter of joy and hope. ( Isaiah 9:1-4 ;  Genesis 18: 1-4, 9-15, 21: 1-6 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, laughter, humor
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 27, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 15, 2017) Music can lift our mood, center us or grab our attention, or convey the deep range of emotion of the human experience. Is it possible that Jesus, who embodied that full range of human experience, can be found in just about any kind of music? What music has charms to soothe your inner self? ( Psalm 40 ,  Matthew 3:13-17 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, music, sacred music, mood, uplift
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 27, 2017 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 8, 2017) Just as the dark and cold of the winter season can cause our bodies to feel sluggish, isolated, and even depressed, being disconnected from God causes a kind of "spiritual affective disorder." We are encouraged to stretch and develop our spiritual practices, to reconnect with God, and reflect and bear God's light in the world. ( Isaiah 60:1-6 ; Matthew 2:1-12 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, depression, mental health, darkness,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 8, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(December 4, 2016) During the time of the Prophet Isaiah and the time of John the Baptist, the people heard a voice crying out to prepare God's way. Maybe it's not that this voice, this call is constant, but that the deeper longing is constant: the longing for a God who dwells with humanity. The longing for God-With-Us. ( Matthew 3:1-12 ;  Isaiah 40:1-11 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, advent, longing, faith
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 8, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 27, 2016) When King Josiah and his people discovered the Word of God, buried in the Temple, they knew it was time to recommit to the faith of the past. Sometime, the Word of God is hidden in the rubble of old traditions and crumbled lives, and it's up to us to dust it off, reclaim it, and let it reclaim us. ( 2 Kings 22: 1-10; 23:1-3 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, advent, tradition, faith
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 18, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 13, 2016) Poet, singer, and songwriter Leonard Cohen reminds us: "there is a crack in everything; that's how the light comes in." We see in our community, our nation, and our world many places of brokenness, many cracks and many places in need of love and light. May we as the people of God be those who bear the light, who carry God's love, to all the broken places of the world. ( Luke 21:5-19 ;  Isaiah 58:5-12 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, healing, hope, mission, safety
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 29, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 25, 2016) The energy of Hang is an unusual one in our contemporary society-- that energy of seeking peace and rest, being calm in one's self. Although perhaps hard to find, when we sink into our quiet center, sometimes we find a depth and a peace that is holy. (Mark 6:30-32; Psalm 139:7-10, 13-18)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, peace, meditation, silence, serenity
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 22, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 18, 2016) The energy of thrust inspires and pushes us to action, as we come together in worship and are built up, jazzed up, and sent out into the world to live our faith in ways large and small. How will you use whatever sphere of influence you have to make one small change for justice and compassion in the world? ( Luke 10:25-37 ,  Exodus 1:8-20 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, justice, compassion, action
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 16, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 11, 2016) The movement of  swing  is a comfortable one for me, an easy, going-with-the-flow energy that is focused on how we are in relationship with God and one another. Swing is a theological and spiritual claim, too: that God is the one who is concerned with relationships, who loves each one of us, and will not rest until each precious sheep is brought into the fold. ( Luke 15:1-10 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, relationship, spirit, energy, swing
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 24, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 20, 2016) When Mary weeps for Jesus, or when Jesus himself weeps, we see a sort of human vulnerability that we can lose track of when it comes to Jesus. Will you let the story of the human Jesus move you this week? ( John 19:25-30 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, palm sunday, tears, mary, humanity
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 24, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 6, 2016) Judas' betrayal of Jesus casts him as one of the greatest villains of all time. But even out of betrayal and suffering, and death itself, God is able to work transformation in us and in the world. Now  that  is grace. ( John 13:21-30 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, judas, communion, wine, betrayal
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 24, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 13, 2016) I've never been comfortable with embracing the blood and suffering of Jesus' death, not because I'm squeamish, but because I don't like what that says about God. But if redemption is in Christ's blood (just like, as an Italian, hospitality is in mine), is it possible to redeem this image and let it speak to me-- and to many of us-- in new ways? ( Luke 23:33-47 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, blood, theology, violence, dv
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 3, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 3, 2016) Often, we get out of life exactly what we expect. So what if we change our expectations this year, and see how we might be newly blessed? ( Matthew 2:1-12 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 3, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(February 28, 2016) Peter does not want to see Jesus humble himself to the status of servant or slave and wash the feet of the disciples. But Jesus teaches that our faith calls us to the humbleness of both service to others and receiving the blessing offered to us. ( John 13:1-17 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, lent, footwashing
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 3, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(February 21, 2016) When a woman, sometimes named as Mary, and sometimes without a name, anoints Jesus with oil, she reveals many things about Jesus himself. Her own act, transgressing boundaries, prophetically foreshadowing, and deeply vulnerable and loving, mirrors Christ's actions among us. ( John 12:1-8 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, lent
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 3, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(February 14, 2016) As we enter Lent, we prepare to receive God's great gift of presence, poured out for us. This Lent, we will use the lens of many elements poured out and hear the stories of the people who would have surrounded Jesus during his last week on earth. ( Luke 4:1-13 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, lent
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 3, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(February 7, 2016) The revelation of Jesus being *more* in the moment of the transfiguration roots and grounds us in the calling to go beyond in living out our faith. Truly, it is not enough for us to simply be nice, but we must live lives transformed. How would you color outside the lines of the church? ( Matthew 17:1-9 ; Matthew 5:38-48 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, calling
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Feb 2, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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January 31, 2016 What does it mean to define ourselves around the love of Jesus? 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, umc, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, love, family, kin
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Feb 2, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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January 24, 2016  Our call as members of the Methodist Church is to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.... 
Topics: god, jesus, church, umc, sermon, pastorbecca, pastrobeccaumc, justice, calling
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 21, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 17, 2016) Jesus calls the disciples to step out of their comfort zones, yes, but not to do something totally alien to them-- for a group of people who know fishing, he invites them to fish for people. When God calls us, it's usually to use gifts that we already have, just to use them in a different way. What gifts and joys do we have, and where do they intersect with the needs around us, so that we may find Frederick Buechner's definition of our vocation: "the place where our...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, calling, vocation, reflection
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 14, 2016 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(Jan 10, 2016) If what we believe about ourselves is reflected out into the world, what would it be like if we truly believed that we were beloved children of God? ( Luke 3:15-17, 21-22)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, grace, love, baptism
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 17, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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( December 13 , 2015)  Mary and Elizabeth, two people who each failed at their one job (to provide their husbands with sons, of course), are perhaps in the best position to grasp and proclaim exactly how powerful God's transformation is, and how much hope turns things upside-down, if we dare to hold on to it.   ( Luke 1:39-56 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, advent, hope, empowerment, women
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 11, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(December 6, 2015) Joseph  makes a radical decision, when her learned of her alleged infidelity, first to divorce Mary quietly, and then not to divorce her at all but to join with her in marriage, and to raise their child together, even naming Jesus as his own son. Such love breaks barriers and shatters the conventions and expectations of the world. Where are we called to love like that in the world today-- to forgive and draw in those who have wronged us, or those whom society preaches are...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, advent, love, forgiveness
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 3, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 29, 2015) Jesus was born into a community, a context, a village, and the people in that context and community are important. The prophets-- from those of old like Jeremiah, to those contemporary and near-contemporary with Jesus like Simeon and Anna-- expressed the people's longing for Jesus, and his fulfillment of God's promise. How do we serve as prophets today? (Jeremiah 33:14-16; Matthew 3:1-6; Luke 2:25-38)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, advent, prophet, hope, longing
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 19, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 15, 2015) It's silly, really, to think that we could live our lives free from the fear and worry around money. But God calls us to joyful, almost laughable, leaps of faith in freedom. ( Genesis 18:1-15 ,  Mark 12:38-44 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, generosity, giving, stewardship,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 13, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 8, 2015) The Shaker song reminds us that it is a gift to be simple. How do we find this gift?  ( Philippians 4:8-13 ,  Luke 12:13-21 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, money, stewardship, contentment,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 13, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 1, 2015)  Much like the prodigal child, we want instant gratification. Can we tap into the wisdom of self control and create better, more faithful lives for ourselves?  ( Luke 15:11-32 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, money, stewardship, wisdom
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 13, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(October 25, 2015) Jesus tells us not to worry, but our lives are filled with worry about how we will care for ourselves and those we love. How can we get a handle on our worry and trust in God in difficult times? ( Exodus 32:1-14 ,  Matthew 6:25-33 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, stewardship, money
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Oct 9, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(October 4, 2015) In some ways saving the best for last, we reflect on how the Beloved Community is centered on Christ, gathered together in his name and living lives modeled after his example.  ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-28, 33 ;  Luke 24:13-32 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, communion, community, name
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Oct 9, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 27, 2015)  In a message inspired by and based upon the Bible studies of Rev. Grace Imathiu at RMN/MFSA's Convocation "Gather at the River," we remember and commit to the need to hold space for one another. We will stand in the river and wait with love, until all people can enter into the promise of Beloved Community.  ( Joshua 3:9-17 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, lgbt, queer, inclusivity, justice,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 25, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 20, 2015) Part of what it means to live in Beloved Community is to lift one another up in prayer and with encouragement. This week, we are invited to try both. Have you held someone in prayer today? Have you given someone their own heart? ( 1 Thessalonians 5:8-18 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, encouragement, prayer, support,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 17, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 6, 2015) A woman came to Jesus, begging for healing for her child, and she was Syrian... I mean, Syrophoenician. Dare we believe, even in the face of global crisis, that the smallest act of love, the smallest scrap of grace, makes a difference? (Mark 7:24-37)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, hope, humanitarian, crisis, syria,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 17, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 13, 2015) We begin a sermon series on the Beloved Community, examining the marking of the people of God, being formed into community. The first aspect of this community is that all of us are welcome. That means all of us-- every person, and also all of us-- our whole selves. ( Galatians 3:23-29 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, welcome, hospitality, inclusion,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jul 9, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(July 5, 2015) Jesus' interruptions as he goes about his ministry of teaching and healing serve to remind us that we are called to the margins-- to be distracted and take notice of those reaching out for help, even-- especially-- when the rest of society assumes they do not matter. (Mark 5:21-43)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, margins, marginalized, hope, healing
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jul 4, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(June 28, 2015) With grief and sorrow, and the commitment not just to pray, but to act, we lift our laments for the attack on Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. (Psalm 130,  2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, prayer, ameshooting,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jun 4, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(May 31, 205) We do not usually feel comfortable talking about our faith. Maybe like Jesus' family, trying to reign him in when he started preaching and healing all over the place, we feel over-exposed. But when we do share and listen about our church in this community, the response is overall positive. Are we able to hear that feedback? (Mark 3:20-35)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, outreach, evangelism
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jun 4, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(May 24, 2015, Pentecost) We talk about the Holy Spirit in curious ways-- ways that perhaps betray our discomfort with it's unpredictable, life-shaking nature. Are we ready to let the Spirit shake us up, let it rock us? (Acts 2:1-6, 12-21)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, pentecost, spirit, challenge
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 7, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(May 3, 2015) While we tend to see so many labels and categories, fragmenting humanity into different boxes, Jesus and his early followers broke down these barriers and eliminated the separations between people in creating a new beloved community. As Phillip and the traveler on the road to Gaza discover, there is nothing that can prevent someone from coming into the presence of God. ( Acts 8:26-40 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, inclusion, inclusivity, grace,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 7, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(April 26, 2015) We are all called by one shepherd, to a shared calling. If your heart is like my heart, take my hand... ( John 10:11-18 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc
Sermons & Religious Lectures
May 7, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(April 12, 2015) Thomas wants to see Jesus with his own eyes. Given how drastically our experiences (including what we see) can vary, is that such a bad thing? How often does the church expect the world to simply believe what we say about Jesus, instead of inviting people into their own experience of the risen Christ? ( John 20:19-31 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, evangelism, belief
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 10, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(April 5, 2015 - Easter) Life is all around us, and death never has the final say! ( Mark 16:1-8 ;  John 20:1-18 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, easter, hope, life, rebirth
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Apr 1, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 29, 2015 - Palm Sunday) Jesus says that if every voice of his supporters were silenced, the very stones themselves would shout out. We reflect on how rocks are powerful metaphors for God's presence and provision, God's protection, and God's cry for justice. How are we, the church built on the Rock, responsible to cry out for those whose voices are silenced? (Luke 19:28-40)
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, palm, justice, silence, oppression,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 28, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 22, 2015) God promises to write God's covenant on our hearts, but what does that mean? What does it really look like to learn God's love and grace by heart? (Jeremiah 31:31-34)  [This sermon describes an event from early in my ministry that was challenging and disturbing. Trigger warnings: death, murder, violence, fear of hell, questions of forgiveness.]
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, forgiveness, hell, murder, death,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 28, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 15, 2015) God's grace has a mysterious way of turning upside-down our expectations and subverting the things of pain and loss into opportunities for transformation. Rather than take from us the pain of life, God transforms pain into hope. Where are we in need of that promise today? ( Numbers 21:4-9 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, hope, healing, salvation, faith,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 12, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 8, 2015) Not only do we tend to resist being told what to do, but we strip faith of its power when we reduce it to a series of do's and don't's. What if, instead, we viewed the Word of God as a promise and a vision of who we are called to be? Might we see it not as something that  constrains  us, but as something that helps us grow and flourish? ( Exodus 20:1-17 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, law, commandment, grow
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 6, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 1, 2015- 23rd anniversary of the burning of Lebanon UMC) Church member Jeannette H. remembers the burning of the church more than two decades earlier, and the congregation that worked together to rebuild afterward. As we reflect on loss, we hear again God's promise of hope-- sometimes the hardest promise to hold on to in the face of loss. Can we see the promise of the future in one another? ( Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, fire, hope, miscarriage, faith
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Mar 6, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(March 1, 2015- 23rd anniversary of the burning of Lebanon UMC) Church member Jeannette H. remembers the burning of the church more than two decades earlier, and the congregation that worked together to rebuild afterward. As we reflect on loss, we hear again God's promise of hope-- sometimes the hardest promise to hold on to in the face of loss. Can we see the promise of the future in one another? ( Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, faith, hope, loss, fire, miscarriage
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Feb 19, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(Feb 15, 2015) The disciples encounter a revelation of who and what Jesus is on the mountaintop, but this is not the only story of God's revelation in Jesus? Can we expand our understanding of God and of ourselves by hearing and telling multiple stories? ( Mark 9:2-9 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, transfiguration, story, diversity,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 28, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 15, 2015- United Methodist Building, Washington, D.C.) When prophets and disciples are called, some are sent far away to prophesy and preach and teach, but many are called in place, activated for service exactly where they are. Are we too focused on going and creating new churches and new disciples, and missing the call to serve where we are? This is a guest sermon that I preached in the (echoey) chapel of the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. (1 Samuel 3:1-10, John...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, calling, vocation, politics, location
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 28, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(January 25, 2015) Sometimes, God calls us to our vocation with a fancy, funny, unavoidable moment; other times, with the long, slow, persistence throughout our lives. I tell the stories of my call from God, and invite us  hear a call in all our stories. The real fun begins when we answer.  (Jeremiah 1:4-10, Mark 1:14-20) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, calling, vocation, umc
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 23, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(December 28, 2014) We tell some stories and read some poems and articles and reflections of Christmas. Thanks to the small group who joined in on the Sunday after Christmas!
Topics: god, jesus, church, umc, pastorbecca, potluck, story, poem, article, reflection, memory
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Jan 23, 2015 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(Christmas Eve 2014) Jesus is born in a time and place that seem utterly strange to us-- not calm and beautiful, not ready for the peace and joy of God's presence. But isn't that exactly where God shows up? ( Luke 2:1-22 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, christmas, birth
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 10, 2014 Rev. Rebecca Girrell
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(December 7, 2014) The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God speaks comfort to us first and foremost, while we wait for justice to unfold. In a time when we see much need for justice and healing around us, let us not rush to DO something to try to fix it, but hear and give comfort as we can, so we can better face the darkness around us. (Isaiah 40:1-11) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, racism, blacklivesmatter, garner,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Dec 4, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 30, 2014 - First Sunday of Advent) In the wake of more racial injustice, and in the face of pandemic illnesses, what does it mean to hold out hope? Can we hear the sacred longing in our own cries of "how long?", and know cling to the Advent promise that Christ is and will be present with us? (Isaiah 64:1-9, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, advent, justice, hope, aids,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 27, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 23, 2014) Jesus praises those righteous ones, who extend care to the hurting, hungry, sick, and suffering, because in so doing, they have offered care to him. However, they are surprised to earn this praise, because they were not consciously looking for Jesus, only doing "the right thing." Many times when we see examples of people living their faith out in service, they are not consciously looking for Jesus, but perhaps have so cultivated a habit of love and service toward...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, ebola, salia, help mercy, compassion,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 27, 2014 Bonnie MArden
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Sermon by Bonnie Marden, guest preacher, of the United Methodist Foundation of New England  This is the sermon delivered on November 9 at Lebanon United Methodist Church as part of our Consecration Sunday service. 
Topics: sermon, church, stewardship, money
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 20, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 16, 2014) What do we do with the gifts given to us? Will we hide and hoard them, for fear of losing them, or will we invest them and give them away in what we love and what the world needs, so that we might be faithful servants and stewards of God's good gifts? ( Matthew 25:14-30 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, talents, gifts, skills, service,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Nov 14, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(November 2, 2014) As we hear and hear again the blessings of those we might not expect, we celebrate the lives and legacies of those saints (imperfect though they may be) and servants, and yes sinners like us, who have touched and shaped our lives. A tribute to the saints and loved ones we have lost. ( Matthew 5:1-11 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, saints, loved ones, death, memory
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Oct 30, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(October 26, 2014) While we certainly live in the world, and have to make choices about how to live our lives with respect to the expectations of the world around us, we are created in God's own image, and we seek to live lives that reflect that image. Whose face do we see in the mirror? Are we bearing the image of God in the world? (Genesis 1: 24-29, Matthew 22:15-22) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, image, stewardship, resources
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Oct 25, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(October 19, 2014) Jesus took the time to be really, deeply present with people on the margins, on the edges of his society. In this story, he goes out of his way for two women who others had written off as un-save-able. Instead, he touched them and let them touch him, too. Imagine how powerful that one act can be,  for  any person-- most especially for a person living in domestic violence and thinking about reaching out for help. Can the church teach, model, and empower enough so that one...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, domestic violence, whyistayed,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Oct 14, 2014 Rev. Rebecca Girrell
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(October 12, 2014) Like a great banquet, we are invited into God's presence, and we can choose to attend or not as we wish. We are also invited into one another's lives, too. However, we know from personal experience that both inviting and being invited require tremendous vulnerability, and our personal holiness (our relationship with God) cannot be separated from our social holiness (our relationships with others). How do we invite and respond to invitation? ( Luke 14:1-6, 12-24) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, invitation, grace, vulnerable, risk,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Oct 14, 2014 Rev. Rebecca Girrell
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(October 5, 2014) We easily recognize the injustice in George Orwell's satire  Animal Farm , when the ruling class re-writes the rules to make themselves "more equal" than the other animals. But do we harbor such biases ourselves? Do we think we, or others, are more equal spiritually? ( Matthew 20:1-16 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, fairness, justice, equality
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Oct 2, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 28, 2014) Joseph and his siblings play out a drama of harm and forgiveness, teaching us much about what it means to be reconciled: that reconciliation is initiated by those who have done the harm and need to come with humbleness and changed hearts; that all siblings are locked together in the story, even if they themselves did not cause the harm; that reconciliation requires of the one harmed tremendous vulnerability and courage (and, understandably, not all people will choose to be...
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, reconciling, forgive, lgbt, glbt,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 26, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 21, 2014) Joseph's brothers are enraged by their younger sibling's dreams, which upset the social order. Not that much unlike us, they react with revulsion to those who call us to better versions of ourselves. Why do we do this? And can we, who are called to dream and vision, still speak those dreams in the face of the rejection and violence that sometimes conjures in others? ( Genesis 37:3-8, 12-14, 18-28 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, assassination, violence, dream,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 19, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 14, 2014) Older, wiser, and perhaps more cynical, Jacob's dreams of glory have not gone according to plan. He wrestles with God and with his understanding of God, and the encounter leaves him changed. How often to we wrestle with our faith or our circumstances in our lives? Do we receive a blessing? Do we leave changed? ( Genesis 28:10-19  and  Genesis 32:22-31 )
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, wrestle, faith, jacob, bless, doubt,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Sep 11, 2014 Rev Rebecca Girrell
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(September 7, 2014) "Gathering" is a word that is both a verb and a noun-- it is something we can do (to ourselves or to other things) and something we can be (a gathering of people). Likewise, "church" is something we can be and something we can do. As we think about new and different ways to come together as church, let us not be content to simply be the church, but let us be actively engaged in  doing  church! (Exodus 23:14-17, Psalm 65) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, gather, action
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Aug 19, 2014 Rev. Rebecca Girrell
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(August 17, 2014) In the face of the death of Michael Brown and the ongoing tension and violence in Ferguson, MO, we hear the story of the Canaanite woman, shouting after Jesus for justice and grace, asking for even the scraps that others might overlook. Where are the scraps of justice and grace? ( Matthew 15:21-28 ) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, sermon, pastorbecca, pastorbeccaumc, umc, ferguson, michael brown, violence,...
Sermons & Religious Lectures
Aug 13, 2014 Rev. Rebecca Girrell
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(August 10, 2014) Peter wants to join Jesus out on the water, where the storm is raging, but when he takes his eyes off Jesus and sees the power of the storm, he is overwhelmed with fear and starts to sink. How often do we feel overwhelmed, like we're drowning, facing the raging storms of chaos in our lives and in the world around us? Can we still hear and join Jesus in the midst of the storm? (Matthew 14:22-33) 
Topics: god, jesus, church, pastorbecca, pastorbecca.umc, storm, suffering, stress, overwhelm, calling, hope